Gubernatorial candidate Robert Massie’s communications director, Mara Dolan, has quit the campaign after six weeks — a sign of financial trouble for the Democrat before the state party’s endorsement convention next month.
Dolan said her decision to leave the Massie campaign was based on “finance.”
As of May 15, Massie had $18,006 in his campaign account — a pittance for any candidate attempting to mount a respectable showing at the June 2 convention and in the Sept. 4 primary. He has raised $342,617 since entering the race to challenge Governor Charlie Baker last year, including $75,000 in loans made to his political committee.
Asked about Dolan’s abrupt departure, Massie, in a phone interview, said she had trouble working with his staff and had requested a high salary that put a strain on his campaign budget.
“She’s a very strong person,’’ he said. Of her work, Massie added, “She’s very demanding.”
Dolan declined to respond to Massie’s characterization, only offering, “I very much enjoyed working with all the dedicated staffers and volunteers on the Bob Massie campaign.”
Massie’s campaign paid Dolan a $5,500-per-month salary, she confirmed. The campaign has about a half-dozen paid staff.
Party rules require Massie to get 15 percent of the delegate vote to qualify for the Democratic primary ballot, which insiders say is an easy hurdle for him as he competes for the party endorsement with former Patrick administration budget chief Jay Gonzalez.
“I am happy with where we are,” Massie said. But he also acknowledged the weakness of his financial position.
“Certainly it remains a challenge,’’ he said. “But it’s a people’s campaign.”
While he struggles financially, the convention offers Massie, an environmental activist, a chance to jump-start his campaign. He’ll have the opportunity to address about 5,000 delegates, many of whom have traditionally been part of the party’s progressive wing.
Whichever candidate gets a majority of delegate support will receive the party’s endorsement.
The financial struggles facing the gubernatorial candidates come, ironically, as the party experiences a surge in activism among its grass roots, mostly stirred by the strong passions aimed at President Trump.
Dolan previously served as director of communications for former Senate president Stanley C. Rosenberg. She resigned her Senate job last month, she said, because she wanted a larger platform to promote Democratic issues. Her resignation came as Rosenberg was battling allegations he allowed his troubled husband to have access to the chamber’s business.
Massie’s struggle to gain a financial foothold comes after a decision by a third candidate, former Newton mayor Setti Warren, to drop out of the race last month. Warren cited Baker’s huge financial advantage — he has more than $8 million in his committee account — as the major reason for pulling the plug on his candidacy.
State Police back bill that shields trooper data
The Massachusetts State Police — currently fighting a lawsuit seeking the dates of birth for state troopers — is now pushing legislation to formally shield that very information from public view.
Public records watchdogs say the bill would make it more difficult for the public and the press to identify misconduct, as well as deliver a potential blanket exemption for a range of other identifying information.
“You would think the State Police would have learned from the last several months that the public trust is important,” said Jeffrey J. Pyle , a partner in the media group at the Boston law firm Prince Lobel Tye LLP. He pointed to multiple scandals, including allegations the now-retired colonel ordered troopers to make changes to a police report about the arrest of a judge’s daughter, as well as a probe into alleged overtime corruption.
“If it’s true they wrote this legislation, that shows they perhaps have not learned anything from the Alli Bibaud scandal, not to mention the overtime scandal.”
The agency has opposed a pending lawsuit in Suffolk Superior Court brought by The Boston Globe, which had asked for the dates of birth of troopers so it could look up the driving records of officers who had been involved in serious crashes or charged with drunken driving.
Suffolk Superior Court Judge William F. Sullivan last year sided with the Globe, but after the State Police appealed, an appellate court reversed an order for a preliminary injunction and sent the case back to the lower court. The department has argued that providing the information would put troopers at risk.
Meanwhile, Senator Michael O. Moore , a Millbury Democrat and cochair of the Legislature’s Committee on Public Safety, said he met in recent months with State Police, who presented language for a bill that would exempt dates of birth of state employees, including troopers, as well as other information, including Social Security numbers.
The Legislature last week referred it to the Committee on Rules.
“It was more [for the] safety of personnel, of employees,” Moore said of the bill’s intent. “That by giving some of this information out, if they’ve got your name, date of birth, [people] can confirm an address or an e-mail, then they can try to track you down.”
David Procopio , a State Police spokesman, there’s intelligence that indicates criminals have sought out personal information on law enforcement officers to “target” them.
“The State Police support this bill to make it harder for criminals terrorists to target officers of the law in this manner,” he said in a statement. “The department will continue to publicly disclose any arrests of department members.”
But Pyle, who is not representing the Globe, said the intent of the bill appears to be “to frustrate the lawsuit.”
But other aspects of the bill also raised alarms with public records watchdogs. It also seeks to exempt other personal identification information that “shall include, but shall not be limited to” credit card information or an employee’s telephone number. The clause leaves an open-ended interpretation that could include other, less-defined information.
“This bill will make it harder for us to keep public officials accountable,” said Justin Silverman , an attorney and executive director of the New England First Amendment Coalition. “It’s limiting access to information needed to identify those who aren’t acting in our interest. We need more than a name.”
The (Zakim) bridge
The video, at one minute 52 seconds long, starts with a bit of wordplay. Josh Zakim’s campaign for secretary of state is described as a “bridge to progress.” Get it? Zakim? Bridge?
The campaign video for Zakim, the Boston city councilor from the Back Bay, even briefly features footage of his father Leonard, the late civil rights activist for whom the scenic bridge that spans the Charles River is named.
The video, to be shown at next week’s Democratic State Convention, will be Zakim’s first introduction to a statewide audience in an uphill effort to claim a statewide constitutional position. In it, he touts the commitment to activism he says he inherited from his father and hopes to build upon as secretary of state.
He lists a “fresh ideas” platform, specifically with reforms to the state’s voter laws.
“We make voting too hard for too many,” Zakim says, in between clips of himself, his father, the late US senator Edward M. Kennedy, and everyday people in Boston. “We need a secretary of state who’ll make this a priority for the entire Commonwealth, and who’ll bring fresh ideas to the office.”
Zakim, 34, is running against incumbent Secretary of State William Galvin, providing perhaps the most high-profile challenge in Galvin’s two decades in office. A spokesman for Galvin said that the secretary plans to address the Democratic State Convention, just as every other candidate for office will. He could not say whether Galvin will introduce a video, only saying that Galvin produced a video as recently as last year’s convention.
Zakim’s video is his campaign’s biggest project since he announced in November that he would run. In it, he says he wants to preserve Massachusetts “tradition” as a leader on issues ranging from health care to marriage equality. But he argues that Massachusetts is lacking in voter rights, his biggest jab against Galvin, saying more than a dozen states have same-day voter registration, or automatic voter registration, but not Massachusetts.
“The right to vote is the bridge to progress,” Zakim says. “And if we don’t lead on this, we risk our ability to lead on anything else.”